June 5, 2020

Talking to Trade Show Organizers

Looking Towards the Organization of the Diet & Beauty Fair 2020

Atsushi Ebuchi
Diet & Beauty, General Manager & Editor in Chief, Informa Markets Japan Co., Ltd.

This business trade show on the themes of beauty and health brings together professionals from industries such as cosmetics, beauty equipment, and health equipment. What proposals has it made and what problems has it aimed to solve so far?
Every show so far has raised a theme, such as the nature of the health and beauty business in Japan, with its advancing population decline, aging society, and globalization, and what strengths Japan has in relation to the world. That is to say, business that supports wellness improvement for women working with health challenges such as diet, lifestyle, and workstyle, and the establishment of health and beauty businesses suitable for an aging society.

We have also focused on the fields of health and beauty as locally-created content. The current coronavirus crisis has pushed society’s online transition a long way forward. It has been said that we have achieved 10 years of progress in these eight weeks. The spreading online shift will change the relationship between regions and cities. I expect new beauty and health businesses to spring up in the regions.

Your website says “Japan’s beauty and wellness are blooming now”. That’s referring to the J-Wellness that you’re promoting, right? Please tell us more about that.
The wellness industry is a large one, worth around JPY500 trillion worldwide. As populations age and we head towards a mature society, the wellness industry, which supports QOL (quality of life), is certain to go on expanding. In the countries of North America and Europe with advanced wellness businesses, diverse industries have emerged, and are spreading, which support wellness-oriented lifestyles, beyond the health and beauty fields of nutrition and exercise.

And when we dig down towards the essence of wellness, there is rising interest in emotional areas, such as mindfulness. That’s spirituality and the liberation of the spirit. The current coronavirus crisis is exerting an enormous impact on people’s perceptions of health and life. I think that in times like these, the spirituality and mystique of Japan’s nature, history, and culture will come to have a great appeal.

For inbound travel, I think the issues of the nature and value of consumption will become more important, instead of the policy pursued so far of blindly expanding the numbers of foreign visitors to Japan. I feel it will be important to create and provide high-quality beauty and health-related content to meet the expectations of those targets.

What actions are you taking from the perspective of the SDGs or sustainability?
Action on the SDGs will move forward in all fields from now on. In the beauty and health field too, there will be changes in ingredients, manufacturing processes, and packages. We are looking at show projects for subjects like that. I want to disseminate that kind of message through seminars and event programs. When I look at points like that, I feel that Japan has had that kind of spirit since long ago. I really think Japan can show the world SDGs that are uniquely its own.

In the contexts that are being called “with coronavirus” and “post coronavirus”, how do you expect Japan’s diet and beauty scene to change? Or has there been change already?
We’ve learned two things from this coronavirus crisis. One is that online operation brings great potential for business, and the other is that it is, after all, important to actually have direct contact with people. The beauty and health industry is needed now, when everyone is in pain. It has to figure out ways to contact consumers across the gap of social distancing, which is irrational for humans, and get close to them. Effective use of online methods is a valid way. Already, beauticians are giving online guidance about skin care, and fitness trainers are teaching exercise and stretching from their homes. In itself, such efforts might not lead to sales immediately, but broadening and deepening communications with customers is sure to lead to new business in future. Online selling can certainly take the place of the face-to-face selling to customers in stores that is no longer possible, but beyond that, I think online broadcasting by cosmeticians and fitness trainers is an important way to reinforce brand communication activities.

For exhibition methods, it appears that conventional real methods will have to be combined with online and digital forms. What kinds of preparations and systems are you working on now?
The same can be said of show operation. Consumers’ IT literacy has jumped up, and they are changing their behavior, so trade negotiation styles will also change. Naturally, we, as the presenters of trade negotiations, need to change ourselves to keep up. That change is not a short cut to “so from now on, shows are virtual”, but rather, diverse organizers will take time to work through a process of trial and error to build one form of operation. We are thinking of starting by moving some parts of the seminar and event fields online. Perhaps a year from now, a completely new model of show operation will be complete.